Today Mistra Centre for Sustainable Markets (MISUM) at Stockholm School of Economics launched the 2017 “Walking the Talk?” report on sustainability communication in 88 of the largest Swedish companies. I attended the launch event which included a presentation of highlights from the report and a panel discussion with sustainability managers from BillerudKorsnäs, H&M, SEB and ÅF. Here are a few points from the presentation and discussion:
- Compared to two years ago, when the first Walking the Talk report was published, companies are better at communicating both their sustainability ambitions and how they actually work with sustainability and are following up on sustainability goals.
- In general, the companies do more “talk” than “walk”, but interestingly the telecommunications and technology sectors differ from the other sectors in that there is overall slightly more “walk” than “talk”.
- Setting measurable sustainability goals, and following up on the performance, was discussed quite a lot. According to the report, more than half of the companies communicate no or only very short-term sustainability goals and only 8% of the companies communicate goals that go beyond 2020. The companies represented speculated that the relatively short time frame of a CEO may affect the time frame of sustainability strategies. They also thought some companies might find it difficult to set concrete goals related to complex issues such as human rights, but they argued that it’s definitely possible. The need for having independent third party organisations to monitor the companies’ performance was also stressed.
The report from both this year and 2015 can be found here.